Oh come on, you must have heard loads of stories like that. You know, a passer-by would try to take on a gang of robbers while they are robbing a bank or a jewellery shop, or even more remarkably, a bookie. And later cops and hacks shower the hero, if he lives to tell his story that is, with praise, instead of telling off the bloody fool for behaving like a total wanker. (In case you don’t know this, all banks and jewellery and betting shops are insured against theft, so it makes no sense for members of the public to stick their necks out to foil robberies and put their lives in danger.)
Anyway, there seem to be quite a lot of have-a-go heroes out there these days, walking the mean streets of their respective towns and cities, looking for trouble – literally. They seem to have this urge to tackle crime and injustice, even when the odds are grossly stacked up against them.
So here’s the deal: why don’t we ask these brave people to get involved in fighting crime and other social menaces on a semi-professional basis? How about encouraging them to take on drug dealers and terrorists? That should be fun for those who like to introduce a bit of excitement into their otherwise boring lives.
Imagine, a concerned member of the public sees a couple of heavies selling dope on a street corner and confronts them, telling them that they’d better stop their disgusting trade there and then – or else. And if the brutes won’t listen or they produce guns, the person in question can wrestle them to the ground and keep them pinned down until the cops arrive. And when both drug pushers get banged up in prison for a long time, the have-a-go-hero could be showered with praise, before going into a witness protection programme for the rest of his life. What’s there not to look forward to? Beats watching s..t on the box any time.
Tackling Muslim terrorists should be even more fun for the adventurous kinds. Suicide bombers won’t feel safe anymore, going on their missions, knowing that somewhere out there ordinary men and women, keen on having their names mentioned in the media, are just itching to have a go at them. Gone will be the days when Al-Qaeda can tell its bombers to target innocent members of the public. Stay away from public places, Al-Qaeda chiefs will say. It’s just too dangerous. Go for something easy, like a police station or a military base. It will be a safer bet.
And why should the general public limit itself to tackling domestic criminals and terrorists? Why not look at the bigger picture and find more opportunities for have-a-go heroes to show off their bravery? How about going as tourists to Afghanistan or Pakistan and taking on the local Taliban? As NATO troops and the local regular armies seem to be incapable of putting an end to the Taliban’s activity, why shouldn’t members of the general public help them out? And not only see some exotic places along the way but get their names mentioned in the papers and on the box.
And don’t forget the Somali pirates, who seem to avoid capture most of the time despite hijacking ships of all shapes and sizes. Members of the public will stand up to these pesky buccaneers, going to Somalia to prevent them from carrying on their evil trade. The moment they see them boarding their boats, they’ll apprehend them and wait for the cops to arrive on the scene. If there are any cops there at all. If not, then the brave people will need to frogmarch the pirates to any village and put them in jail themselves – if they can find one.
Commando type missions to save hostages or apprehend international master criminals can also be staged by members of the concerned public. And why not, if the prize at the end of such daring operations is 15 minutes of fame? Who wouldn’t want to make our world a better place and have his or her name mentioned by the media, even if it’s done posthumously?
And once you get into the groove of things, so to speak, you can have members of the public interfering in all major conflicts across the world, and even starting wars themselves. They can battle it out with each other at some big open car park or in a field; then claim victory and occupy the country. And there won’t be any need to keep huge armies and expensive weapons, as members of the public will engage in the combat themselves.
You think that sounds crazy? Well, it all starts with small things, you know, like confronting armed robbers and getting showered with praise for it. And then the sky’s the limit, as they say.
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